Paid Sick Leave Mandate Introduced; Are Proponents Ready to Take Issue to Voters in 2016?

February 16, 2015

Progressive advocacy groups and unions are calling for legislation to require businesses in Michigan to offer paid sick leave to employees – and, assuming the legislation will not gain traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature, they are already hinting that they may work to put the issue on the November 2016 ballot.

House Bill 4167 (Rep. Chang) and Senate Bill 101 (Sen. Ananich) would allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Time would accrue in one-hour increments of up to 40 hours per calendar year for businesses with less than 10 employees and 72 hours per calendar year for all other businesses. The time would carry over from year-to-year, but employers would not be required to allow employees to use more than 40/72 hours in a single year. Paid sick leave could be used for illness, medical treatment, care for a family member or a newborn child.

This proposal would have a significant impact on Michigan employers’ payroll costs and hiring decisions and would be felt most by workers, who will have to cover the work load for absent employees. It could also have an adverse impact on employers’ ability to offer the voluntary benefits workers need and want, such as retirement, health insurance and other fringe benefits. 

Proponents have already suggested that, if their legislative efforts fail, they’ll take this issue to the voters in 2016.  A similar measure was approved by Massachusetts voters in 2014 by a 60 to 40 percent margin.

The Michigan Chamber will be a strong voice of opposition to this proposal in the State Legislature. 

For more information, please contact Wendy Block at wblock@michamber.com or (517) 371-7678.